Winter Reads

As nights draw in, there always seems to be more time for reading. Check out fellow blogger artforhousewives and her recent meditations on Dido, Harriet Hosmer, and  The Burden Of Beauty:

Burden of Beauty

The Tears of Things



Daniela Rivera at the Davis Museum


“Fragments from a History” by Daniela Rivera, a series of doors with audio poetry, is now at Wellesley College’s Davis Museum. This installation is second in a series of annual commissions.

Rivera has fitted salvaged wooden doors of various vintages with optical lenses and speakers. The doors invite approach, in order to peer through the irresistible peepholes at the center of each. Motion sensors trigger sound: whispered incantations and interviews that are just below the threshold of hearing unless one’s face is pressed against the door.

The installation distills the artist’s own experience as an immigrant and evokes “the loss of the habitual.” Rivera says she explored “the many personal stories of immigration and the loss of familiarity of one’s environment.”

The installation’s an eight channel audio piece designed by Jenny Olivia Johnson.


Maya Lin in Cambridge


Maya Lin‘s granite, steel and glass facade of the Novartis headquarters on Mass. Ave. in Cambridge looks like a soaring rock formation eroded from a burning blue October sky. The building’s granite blocks, interspersed with interstices, references the binary patterns of the human genome, or the cellular building blocks of life.

As the architecture critic Paul Goldberger writes about the Novartis project in “Maya Lin Topologies,” a book of photographs and essays about her work, “Lin has begun to work with greater constraints than she has ever had. She knows that the greatest challenge of all is not to design without restrictions, but to accept the constraints and then, just as she has done, show that in spite of them you can bring real architecture into being.”

An article from the Boston Globe.



Marisol Escobar’s wry portrait of Ruth Klingman, titled simply “Ruth” is on display at The Rose Art Museum this fall. Ruth is included in Passage, a wide-ranging selection of work from the permanent collection of the Rose.

Ruth Klingman had been Jackson Pollock’s mistress, and was the lone survivor of the car crash that killed Pollock and another friend in 1956. Constructed 5 years after Pollock’s death, in 1961, Marisol’s Ruth is made of carved and found wood, plaster casts, and found objects. Marisol’s signature draftsmanship details Ruth’s hair and facial features, using loose line work to create casual but accurate portraiture.  Ruth is a literally multifaceted portrait of a misunderstood, complicated woman who was—as Marisol herself was for a time—a part of Andy Warhol’s New York inner circle.

Marisol, an influential and once-widely-exhibited pop artist, is due for a long-overdue retrospective at the Albright Knox gallery


Niho Kozuru at the Society of Arts & Crafts


Niho Kozuru currently has an exhibition up at the Society of Arts + Crafts in Boston’s Seaport District. “Infinite Vibration” is her tallest work to date at 20 feet, made especially for the space. Niho will give a gallery talk this Saturday, Sept. 8, from 2–4pm.

SAC Gallery hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10 – 6 & Sunday 11 – 5 (until 9pm on Thursday)

Eva Hesse on American Masters


Now free to watch on or the corresponding app: Artists Flight: Eva Hesse, a documentary about this groundbreaking sculptor of the 1960s. Too long in the shadows, Eva’s work is emerging as some of the most seminal sculpture of the 20th century.


A visible, invisible muse


Davida Johnson Clark, the model whose classically beautiful features pervaded Augustus St. Gaudens’ visualizations of Diana, Victory, and Amor Caritas, is one of the most highly visible faces in neoclassical art. Yet the woman herself—St. Gaudens’ longtime mistress and mother of one of his sons—has almost disappeared from history.

A Swedish immigrant whose name was originally Albertina Hulgren, Davida was re-christened by St. Gaudens after Michelangelo’s David. Her great-granddaughter wrote a fictionalized biography of her in 2016.

Another Victory



This half-lifesize study for the Sherman Memorial’s personification of the goddess of Victory resides in the Augustus St. Gaudens National Historic Site in Cornish, NH.

The completed monument, in gilded bronze, stands just outside the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan’s Grand Army Plaza on 60th Street and Fifth Avenue. Restored and re-gilded in 2013, the monument shines as St. Gaudens intended, and Victory again holds a palm frond in her left hand.

Victory, or Victoria, is “Nike” in her ancient Greek incarnation. A close companion of Zeus, Victoria is the divine charioteer, worshipped by Roman generals after successful battles. Ubiquitous in Roman society, winged Victories gradually became angels in Christian iconography.


Which would you choose?

I’d like to see an equestrian sculpture of Sally Farnham, near her monument to Simon Bolivar…

Lost Louisas


Louisa Lander was born in Salem, Mass. in 1826 and died in Boston in 1923. She outlived her career as a neoclassical sculptor by many decades, and the list of her “lost” works is a long one. The bulk of her active career was spent in Rome, and a few works described in her Roman studio (“Elizabeth, Exile of Siberia,”  “Pioneer Mother and Child”) may not have made it to the carver’s workshop, or out of Italy.

But several pieces exhibited in and around Boston—presumably in some final form, whether marble or bronze—remain intriguingly missing. An “Evangeline,” lying near the bank of a stream, exhausted and asleep, a patriotic bust titled “Today,” a “Galatea” and others remain at large. Whether these were later attributed to other artists, destroyed, or are sleeping in an attic or basement, it’s worth keeping an eye out for this elusive artist’s lost oeuvre.

Pictured is Lander’s stunning portrait of Nathaniel Hawthorne, in the first floor reference room of the Concord Free Public Library. Signed “L.L. Romae. 1858.” and carved in marble from Lander’s clay original in Italy, the “L.L.” signature may also appear—inconspicuously—on other work.

An engraved portrait of Lander herself appears in an 1861 issue of Cosmopolitan Art Journal_Vol.5 No,1